SALEM, OR — Today, Oregon's Kid Governor Erikka Baldwin was inaugurated in the Oregon State Capitol Senate Chamber.
“I want to thank my family for all the support that they have given me,” said Erikka in her first public address to Oregonians. “I am honored to represent Oregon’s 5th graders and am ready to be the best Kid Governor that I can be.”
Many attended the inauguration ceremony, including Erikka's family and classmates, five other finalists for Oregon's Kid Governor and their families, and a number of Oregon senators and state representatives.
Governor Kate Brown, State Representative-Elect Marty Wilde, Former Chief Justice Paul DeMuniz, and 2018 Kid Governor Dom Peters all spoke during the ceremony, giving short civics lessons on their respective branches of government.
“We are thrilled to see the Kid Governor program growing and being adopted in more states nationally,” said Mary Beth Herkert, Oregon State Archivist and Director of Oregon's Kid Governor program. “We’re so proud of Erikka and know she is going to be a wonderful example for Oregon’s 5th graders.”
Oregon's Kid Governor is a statewide civics program first implemented in Connecticut and adopted by Secretary of State Dennis Richardson to engage 5th graders in learning about their government through hands-on experience.
“The Kid Governor program is a participatory democracy in action,” said Secretary Richardson. “What we've found is, by having 5th graders participate in this whole process, they learn much more than if they are just receiving a lecture.”
Fourteen students submitted videos with their plans for tackling an issue they felt passionate about, and seven finalists qualified for the official Kid Governor election. More than 1,200 5th graders across the state voted in the election, and Erikka Baldwin was chosen to be Oregon's 2019 Kid Governor. Erikka ran on a platform of finding forever homes for Oregon’s dogs and cats.
“I am excited to be part of this adventure,” said Erikka in her closing remarks. “My sincere desire is to advocate for the many homeless animals and to help them find their perfect forever home.”
Watch the complete inauguration video on Oregon's Kid Governor Facebook page as well as follow Erikka's work as Kid Governor on Oregon's Kid Governor official website and blog. Erikka will be engaging in activities throughout the year to bring awareness to her platform and encourage kids and adults to participate in their government.